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Europe must continue its sanctions on Russia amid the Russian military action in Syria and Ukraine, as well as the demonstration of nuclear-capable weaponry in the Baltic Sea region, Finland's President Sauli Niinisto said at a meeting with his Lithuanian counterpart, Dalia Grybauskaitė, on Tuesday.
Launch on an Iskander
Launch on an Iskander

"We are facing a cruel war actually, full-scale war in Syria, in Allepo – the Syrian army and Russian bombardiers have the major responsibility that also civilians are being killed. (...). We also discussed about the Ukrainain crisis. I'm sure that we fully agree that the European Union and the international Western community must keep on sanctions, if there's no agreement met – I mean the Minsk agreement," Niinisto said at a joint news conference in Helsinki.

After the meeting, the Finnish president emphasized the importance of security of the Baltic Sea region for Finland, applauding the NATO decision to increase its presence in the Baltic states and Poland.

"That is undoubtedly very much welcomed and needed. We have seen also how Russians react on this by having followed the transportation of Iskander missiles. Nevertheless, the situation hasn't gone to at least any better, Finland still is very active on all possible ways to increase the stability to the Baltic Sea area," he said.

Meanwhile, Lithuania's Grybauskaitė noted that the stationing of the nuclear-capable Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad region wedged between Lithuania and Poland was a sign of aggression in respect to all European capitals.

"That means aggressive, open, demonstrative power and aggressiveness against not Baltic states, but against European capitals," the Lithuanian president said at the news conference with Niinisto on Tuesday.

She emphasized that Iskander was openly offensive weaponry, adding that Russia's latest actions in the Baltic Sea region ran counter to the international law.

"It is aggressive demonstration of power, it is aggressive deterrence against the neighborhood, not only the Baltic states, but also the EU. This is what we condemn as violation of international law and behavior," said Grybauskaitė.

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